Otley 36, Blaydon 12

The firm grounds are much to Otley’s liking and they continued on their way with a fourth successive full haul of points yesterday as they strive to maintain their place in National League One.

There was a brief spell when skipper Howard Parr was forced to retire with a knee injury, on 15 minutes, when Blaydon had their moment in the sun, but such was their confidence and ability that there was only one outcome to this vital game.

An early mistake when running from their 22 gave former Wharfedale centre Andy Baggett a penalty kick in front of the posts but the wind proved his undoing, and Otley swept upfield where fly half James Murray coolly dropped a goal from 38 metres out.

He quickly following this with a penalty from 48 metres after No 8 Ollie Stedman and lock Alex Ball had combined to panic the Blaydon defence, and he then floated a high kick for James Twomey to chase, and the winger’s pace ensured a try.

A penalty into the corner gave the visitors a foothold and, although their initial drive was contained, lock Chris Wearmouth struggled over under the posts for Baggett to convert.

Except for one slip the second half was all Otley. They had the ball fizzing in all directions as forwards and backs combined to put Blaydon in a daze. Another well-judged kick from Murray, this time to the opposite wing, was caught by Curtis Wilson in full flight, and no-one able to stop him going in at the corner, and Joe Barker, this week at centre, went over when the ball was moved blind from a five-metre scrum.

The best try started deep in the home half, Stedman breaking down the right-hand side before passing out to Twomey, and taking a return before handing back for the winger to race away, and Wilson finished off neat approach work, crossing in the corner and running to the posts to give Twomey, standing in for Murray who had split his kicking boot in the build-up, a simple conversion.

Blaydon had their moment when flanker Mark Wilson was allowed to run in from 20 metres from the restart of Wilson’s first try but they were unable to mount any further threat.